Effect of Magnets on Ant Navigation Maxwell Hu and James Haber
Abstract These test will provide more accurate drug targeting in humans and nanotechnologists might find ways to make it serve as a tiny data storage device. The purpose of this experiment is to test whether magnetic fields have an effect on ant navigation. To conduct this experiment, we placed a bottomless nine and a half springform pan on the bottom of a large plastic box. The springform pan was placed on top of the opening of a plastic bag and the sides of the box were covered with black construction paper to block any point of navigation. The control, without the magnets, had a piece of muffin on one side of the ring and the ant placed in the center. We timed how long it took the ant to reach the food, with five minutes being the maximum amount of time it takes to reach the food. Once an ant reaches the food, the next ant is placed in the center and the process is repeated. The variable tests had a ring or square of magnets submerged under the sand, with the center point in the middle of the pan. The same process as the control ants was repeated.
Need Thousands of people die of cancer each year, but bioengineering with magnetic crystals, could help navigate nanobots or bacteria through the human body http://vaperforms.virginia.gov/images/graphs/HealthFamily/Cancer-DeathRatebyState.png Pest destroy millions of crops each year, but they could be controlled by magnetic fields and pheromones http://www.bats.ch/bats/publikationen/1995-1_TA/pics/1.8_production_losses.gif
Knowledge Base Figure 1: Magnets in testing arena Figure 2: the magnetic field and pheromone detectors are in the ants antennae and pheromones are released from the hindgut, pygidium, rectum, sternum and hind tibia
Literature Review Part 1 Ant antennae carry internal GPS Jennifer Viegas May 21, 2009 • Magnetic minerals found in ant antennae • Using high-powered microscopes and chemical analysis, discovered dirt-acquired magnetic particles in antennae. • Ants receive geomagnetic information, transduce it in signal to nervous system, then brain. http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/05/21/2577321.htm Magnetic crystals found in ant antennae
Literature Review Part 2 First identification of a trail pheromone of an army ant N.J.Oldham, E.D.Morgan, B.Gobin and J.Billen February 24, 1994 • Blind army ants are able to navigate solely on chemical pheromone scents. • Release trail pheromone from postpygidial gland • http://www.springerlink.com/content/h24h13h4275614m2/
Purpose • The Effect of Magnetic Fields on Ant Pheromone Trails • Alternate Hypothesis: The time it takes to reach the food will increase when there is a magnetic field. • Alternate Hypothesis: In a control test, the time it takes to reach the food will decrease after the first ant finds the food.
Discussion • Magnets affect ants’ ability to follow and navigate pheromone trails • Other studies have shown that ants navigate with pheromones and that they contain natural magnetic crystals, but our study shows that these systems conflict • This is probably because pheromone navigation evolutionarily predate the magnetic navigation, and the former can override the latter
Future Studies • This experiment could be conducted better with a larger testing area, and stronger magnets • Some new studies based on this experiment could be testing different ant species, different types of food, positions of magnets, or artificial pheromones
Bibliography • http://www.anthillwood.co.uk/anatomy2.png • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant#Navigation